Booking a 9 day trip to Bali was definitely ambitious to say the least! There are so many things to do and places to go in Bali, it is practically impossible to fit it all in in 9 days. If I were to book again, I would definitely consider staying for at least 3 weeks.
Although we were only there for a short period of time, we did manage to squeeze in a considerable amount. I have written out our itinerary below to give you a brief overview of what we got up to. Please use the links if you want to find out more information.
Day 4: Ubud Day Trip (read more about this below), Made’s Warung for dinner.
Day 5: Taxi to Padang Bai harbour, boat to Gili Air (we booked through Nusa Devata Travel & Activities on Trip Advisor), check into Gili Air Escape , hire bikes (£3 per person per day), dinner and sunset on the beach.
Day 6: Paddle boarding, day by the pool, check out, travel back to Seminyak, Sushimi restaurant for dinner.
Day 8: Visiting family
Day 10: Fly Home
Me, my sister, Aisha, and my boyfriend, George, travelled to Bali at the very end of August. The weather varied between sun and cloud throughout the day (luckily it didn’t rain) and reached around 26-27° which was a comfortable temperature for travelling around. I was pleasantly surprised that Bali wasn’t very humid, unlike other places in Indonesia.
We booked to stay in the Courtyard by Marriott Seminyak Resort for the duration of our stay. The staff were so friendly and attentive, the rooms had a nice, clean, modern interior and the beds were like sleeping on a cloud! The only thing I would say is that I didn’t think it was worth the money we paid. The pool was in the center of the courtyard which meant that only one side of the pool had sun during the day. We all know that getting a sunbed on holiday is usually a task in itself, let alone when only half of the sunbeds are in the sun!
Obviously we thought that our next option was the beach but for some reason our hotel had a surprisingly small private area considering the beach was so large. We even walked for about 20 minutes (only getting halfway down the beach) straight past our hotels reserved area! As you can probably guess, there weren’t any available sunbeds by the time we finally found it.
On the plus side, we did find it really convenient having one base because it gave us more flexibility when we were deciding when to book our day trip to Ubud and Gili Air. This is especially handy if its due to rain. It also meant that we didn’t need to take our suitcases when we went to Gili Air.
In my opinion, Seminyak was a really good place to stay with amazing hotels, food, beaches and stores. I was so annoyed with myself for buying all of my bikinis before I arrived because there are so many bikini brands with stores in Seminyak that we don’t get at home. I bought a bikini top from a store called Wanderlust which was about £33. The fabric is super soft and such good quality AND it fits amazingly! Make sure you visit the outlet store as this has full priced bikinis as well as some discounted. I don’t know why but they don’t seem to show as many styles on their website as they have in their store.
As you may have heard online or from friends/family who have visited Bali, there is a lot of traffic. However, the island is small, it’s not like driving through London where you really are stuck in traffic for hours. I found that the traffic worst when we were in a more populated area such as Seminyak but as we drove out the traffic eased. Thankfully, the taxis aren’t expensive. Bluebird taxis with a meter are known to be the best as they have a meter but they were sometimes difficult to find because lots of other taxis use their name and logo but aren’t actually the real deal! If you want a tip on how to spot them, we found that Bluebird spelt incorrectly was the biggest and most common indicator.
Booking a day trip with a driver is probably the best way to see Ubud all in one day. It’s really inexpensive considering the driver waits for you at each place you ask to stop off at. We paid £30 and split it between the 3 of us. Something that took me by surprise was how last minute you can arrange activities like this in Bali. On our first night we happened to have a taxi driver who lived in Ubud and offered to take us on a day trip. We contacted him the day before to organise our day trip and he was extremely friendly, patient and kind, much like the other Balinese on the island. We decided to visit the Tegenungan waterfall first as this is really popular and we wanted to take pictures before it got too crowded. Following this, we visited the Bali AS coffee plantation where we were given a really informative tour and tried several different teas and coffees. We were the only people there and the views of the jungle were amazing – it’s definitely something I would recommend doing! Our driver then took us to the Holy Spring Water Temple, Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Sacred Monkey Forest and finally the Saraswati Temple. We really did fit everything in one day! If you’re wondering how long this took, we left our hotel at roughly 8am and got back at about 9pm.
Gili Air on the other hand didn’t quite live up to expectations. It’s a teeny-tiny island with beautifully clear sea and peaceful beaches which make it seem (at first) so appealing. The main reason why I didn’t think it was worth travelling to was because it takes practically half a day to get there. Due to there being so many other things we wanted to see or visit in Bali, we could only afford to stay for one night. Firstly you travel by taxi for roughly two and a half hours to Padang Bai harbour, then you have to wait to board the boat and then when you are on the boat it takes about another hour and a half to get to the island.
To be honest, I fell at the first hurdle when I found out George was allergic to horses (the islands primary mode of transport). Then I booked to wrong room for us to stay in, we all cut our feet on coral attempting to go snorkelling and we had uncooked chicken in our sandwiches for lunch! However, that’s not to say Gili T or Gili Medow are the same, we just didn’t have time to visit them and if you do decide to go to Gili Air, I would highly recommend paddle boarding, staying at Gili Air Escape and watching the sunset on the beach – those were definitely our highlights.
Finally, one of my favourite things in Bali and something it is popular for, were the beach clubs. With such a short amount of time, we decided to prioritise visiting The Lawn in Canggu, Potato Head and Ku De Ta for dinner. They were all excellent however Ku De Ta was quite expensive. I would also highly recommend La Favela, it’s perfect if you decide you want to go out for drinks after dinner and it’s nothing you will ever experience anywhere else. I’m not going to tell you too much because partly why we enjoyed it so much is that we were not expecting it to be anything like it was!
My final recommendation is the W hotel. We spent the afternoon at their WOOBAR which is right next to the pool and has comfy sofa seats for you to sit on whilst sipping on their delicious cocktails and eating yummy food! You can get a sunbed however there is a minimum spend 500,000 IDR.
Things I would like to do if I went back:
- Mrs Sippy beach club
- Finns Beach Club
- Nyang Nyang Beach
- Gunung Payung Beach
- Sisterfields restaurant
- Stay in a villa
- Visit a spa
- Swing at Zen Hideaway Ubud
- Cafe organic
- Sea Circus
My opinions and recommendations are a reflection of my experience so please don’t take them too seriously!
I hope that you have enjoyed reading and for those planning their own trip I hope I have provided you with some useful advise!